As a child, I spent many summers wading in ponds, catching tadpoles and turtles. My hometown in Southeast Kansas is surrounded by farm ponds filled with native Nelumbo lutea, as well as several wild varieties of waterlilies. Our family was always active outdoors and kept many turtles and fish. For many years we rescued box turtles off of the highways and kept them in our greenhouse.
After graduating high school, I enrolled at the local state university and majored in physics. My husband (we both grew up in the same neighborhood, and have known each other since pre-school) and I were married during our first year of college. Once ponding caught on (even in the Midwest), my husband and I were able to obtain supplies to build a small above ground "box" pond in the same greenhouse where I kept turtles as a child. We soon had too many plants for such a small space and built a large in-ground pond in the yard, and it was home to several koi and common hardy waterlilies.
Just two years after building our "big" pond, I finished my bachelors degree in physics, and moved on to graduate school. There are only about nine graduate degree programs in medical physics in the United States, so I picked the one in Florida! For the first year in Gainesville, we are lived in an apartment; however, we did not let that stop our ponding hobby. We received permission to build a pond behind our apartment, and slowly transformed the place and built up a stock of waterlilies appropriate for the new climate.
My family and I have had various ponds in ground, raised, and in containers over the past several years in Kansas, Florida, and now Texas. In addition to water gardening, my husband and I are kept quite busy with our sons, Dylan and Evan. We also enjoy gourmet cooking, travelling, movies, photography, and home improvement projects.
Jessica is also a talented photographer and we are pleased to include her images in the cultivar galleries as well as in this personal gallery --